How To Make An Insurance Claim For Water Damage – Paul West is an experienced private risk consultant with over a decade of experience counseling successful families and individuals.
You come home from vacation to find a small pond has materialized in your basement. Something in the house has leaked, overflowed, or exploded. Your first reaction? Panic. Your second:
How To Make An Insurance Claim For Water Damage
If you are sure it is safe to do so, take immediate action to stop more water from flowing. This means turning off your home’s main valve (which often requires a wrench) or an individual water supply valve, also known as a “stop.” Stops leading to your dishwasher, toilet, washing machine or icemaker can be closed manually (clockwise) to stop the flow of water. Here’s more on how to turn off the water supply valve.
When To Make A Water Damage Insurance Claim
By the way, it’s a good idea to research water leak detection systems and automatic shutoff valves before disaster strikes. With a small investment, you can avoid a serious claim and potentially save money through home insurance discounts.
In 2018, nearly one in four home insurance claims were the result of water damage. From 2014-2016, the number of water damage claims in the US actually exceeded the number of losses from fires and hurricanes. What do these numbers mean? Water damage is very common. But not every type of water damage is covered by a typical homeowner’s policy.
As a general rule, home insurance covers sudden or accidental water damage. In other words, you cannot predict that this is going to happen. Water damage is not covered when the home is not maintained/neglected (eg a roof you haven’t repaired in 30 years). Flood water damage is also not covered (unless you have a separate policy for flood insurance in Massachusetts).
While homeowners insurance covers many water damage situations, there are certain situations where your policy may not provide coverage. Familiarizing yourself with these common exclusions will help you better manage and maintain your property to avoid costly repairs. Here are some examples of water damage that are not typically covered by insurance:
Burst Pipes And Water Leaks
To ensure you have adequate coverage for your specific needs, review your insurance policy and discuss any concerns with your independent insurance agent. By understanding your policy limits, you can take proactive steps to maintain your property and reduce your risk of expensive, open water damage.
When it comes to water damage, time is of the essence. According to FEMA, mold and mildew can develop 24-48 hours after exposure. So, if your pipe bursts on Friday night, don’t wait until Monday morning to let your agent/insurance company know what’s going on. Most carriers maintain a 24/7 hotline to guide you through the claims process and provide advice on cleaning.
Clean and dry the area yourself, at least it makes sense to contact a water damage / restoration company. Insurance companies may not be willing to recommend a specific water damage company, but they can help you identify several local options to choose from.
Note: If your dedicated insurance agent is not available to speak with you at the time of the claim, make sure you follow up during business hours. why There is a big difference in insurance
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement?
. Ideally, both should know what’s going on in your home. In the event of a claim, your agent’s job is to act as your advocate and help ensure you receive a timely, satisfactory response from the carrier. Agents can also be valuable in helping to negotiate a settlement for any damages (see Step 6)—one reason we recommend working with an independent agent rather than a direct writer or “captive” agent.
A water damage/restoration company (WD/RC) is often required to remove any standing water and thoroughly dry any surface before moisture or mold can spread. If mold is already present, after sealing and ventilating the wet area, WD/RC may need to apply special cleaning measures.
Water damage and restoration companies are not all created equal. Some, unfortunately, may try to take advantage of an emergency situation, where you need immediate help. Before signing any contract or work order, make sure you get an estimate and written proof that you are licensed/insured by the company. Read online reviews of the company. Ask for references from customers in your hometown or neighborhood.
Remember, walls, floors, woodwork, ceilings, cabinets, etc. after the WD/RC you choose has run out of water. It doesn’t have to be the same company you use for repairs. Many water damage companies offer contract services in addition to water and mold remediation, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best choice for your repair. Again, don’t sign any contracts or agree to additional work without getting a quote… and at least talk to a contractor. Often, the best person to do carpentry, flooring or drywall is someone who specializes in carpentry, flooring or drywall – not a WD/RC.
Flood Insurance Claims: How To File Or Appeal
In severe cases, water damage can lead to unsafe or unhealthy living conditions in the home. A large flood can introduce household chemicals or wasted water into the mix—not something you’re going to want to wade through. There may be a risk of electric shock. And even after any standing water is gone, mold spores can contaminate the air.
If you suspect any of these issues are ongoing, ask your agent and your WD/RC team to advise you on the safest course of action. Most insurance policies also include coverage for hotel accommodations and meal expenses if you are forced to evacuate. But you’ll want to understand how much (if any) coverage you have for these items, as well as how you’re expected to come up with and catalog these expenses (pay for them yourself before being reimbursed). If you stay and eat elsewhere, be prepared to save receipts.
Your home restoration team will probably take pictures of the damaged area, but you should take pictures yourself. (If you later decide to cut ties with this company, you don’t want to chase them down for paperwork.) You should also take photos of any items that need to be cleaned or replaced. Along with water damage, items that get wet are part of the damage. Items in drawers or closets where mold has spread should also be professionally cleaned. You may be eligible for reimbursement of those costs.
Note: In the event of water damage, most insurance policies do not cover the equipment that caused the problem in the first place. So, for example, if your icemaker or dishwasher leaks behind your cabinets, your insurance may replace the drywall and cabinets, but not a new fridge or dishwasher.
Home Insurance Facts And Statistics: Coverage & Claims
As soon as possible, the insurance company will send an adjuster to your home. He or she will assess the damage, take photos and measurements. The adjuster will also ask questions about how and when the damage occurred. Its mission is twofold. First, he is trying to estimate how much it will cost to repair the damage. Second, he is trying to determine who is at fault.
Don’t worry Unless you deliberately caused the problem (eg insurance fraud), your insurance policy is for you. Insurance is for accidents. Quite the dumb accident. If you leave a candle burning all night and your house burns down, you’re still covered – even if, yes, it was your fault. The same principle applies to water damage. If you install your own toilet (improperly, by accident) and water leaks through your ceiling, you’re still covered.
However, if it is someone else’s fault, the insurance company has an interest in finding out. For example say,
That toilet is not installed improperly; Say he was a licensed plumber, who should have known better. In that case, your adjuster and insurance company may “subrogate,” meaning step in
Insurance Claim Letter For Smartphone
Insurance company for the loss he has caused. Ditto for faulty equipment. Your insurance company may seek to recover damages from the manufacturer of the malfunctioning washer. This is good news for you because if they are able to successfully subrogate, you will be able to pay your deductible for the claim.
At some point after his evaluation, your adjuster will send you a written estimate of how much he thinks it will cost to repair your damage. He will probably create a list of line items for labor and materials (drywall, paint, insulation mortar, tile, etc.). Depending on the size of the claim, he may also issue a check for all or part of this amount, so that you can start making repairs. Come on!
Just be prepared; The settlement figure may seem a bit low. Unless your home insurance policy is written to provide “replacement cost value,” your total estimate will be based on actual cash value, or ACV. ACV shows what your property is worth today—not what you paid for it or how much it would cost to make it brand new. So, for example, if you spent $20K on new cabinets 15 years ago, your loss settlement will reimburse you for $20K.
Now, here’s a tricky caveat… In some cases, insurance companies will offer what’s called a
Homeowners Insurance And Water Damage
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